Australia has asked the European Commission to review Italy’s decision to block the export of 250,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine to the country.
It is the first time new rules have been used that allow a ban on EU exports if the drug provider fails to meet its obligations to the bloc.
The move has heightened a tense dispute between AstraZeneca and EU countries over supply issues and delays.
Australia said losing “one shipment” would not badly affect its rollout.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said while he had requested the review, he could also understand why Italy made the decision.
“In Italy, people are dying at the rate of 300 a day. And so I can certainly understand the high level of anxiety that would exist in Italy and in many countries across Europe,” he said.